9pHQHH3Z 2023 Toyota Prius 6
2023 Toyota Prius 6

Pre-loved: Toyota Prius 2009-2022

First generation Prius


Along with the Honda Insight, Toyota Prius was one of the pioneers of hybrid/electric motor vehicles when they arrived here in 2001. 

While Insight made little impact, Prius remained on sale until late 2022 when the large number of alternative Toyota hybrids saw it discontinued.

As with most hybrids it’s mainly powered by a petrol engine, assisted by an electric motor.

Originally it had a four-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine.

This was increased to 1.8 litres with the June 2009 model change, at the same time the electric motor’s output was also upgraded.

These 2009 models are the first being examined in this used car review.

Note that the Toyota Prius sold in Australia is not a plug-in electric car.

Plug-ins are sold in other countries but Toyota Australia feels they would be slow sellers here.

For relatively short distances, seldom more than a few hundred metres, a Prius can run purely as an electric car.

Its biggest advantage is that energy normally lost when slowing down and/or braking is harvested and put back into batteries.

There’s also a saving on brake pads as they have less work to do.

Prius gen-three arrived in June 2009 and ran until early 2016 and is probably the one to aim for.

The fourth generation came to us in February 2016.

The new body has a sleek, sporty look and improvements were made to aerodynamic efficiency.

With even lower fuel consumption it was built on a new platform, and while not exactly sporty it does give a reasonably enjoyable drive. 

Though it’s styling heads in the space-age direction the Prius is a relatively conventional five-door five-seat hatchback, it has decent interior room and little boot space is lost to battery bulk.

Comfort is good, though not to the same high standard as the Toyota Corolla and Camry, both of which have been adapted to suit Australian driving conditions and driver preferences. 

Some rough road can really upset the Prius’ suspension.

If there are poor roads in your home area it’s smart to include them in your pre-purchase test drive.

Handling is fine, but not exactly inspiring from a keen driver’s point of view. Nor is it intended to be.

This is a clean-air car not a sporty machine.

Quality of finish is good and Prius last well. Indeed quite a few are used as taxis in many Australian cities and it’s not unusual to see them with 300+ kilometres on the clock.

Perhaps avoid these as secondhand buys as their remaining life may be limited. Then again, if the price is right, it might be worth a gamble.

Owners can do minor servicing on a Prius, but anything beyond that should be done by a trained Toyota or Lexus mechanic.

Insurance costs are about average for a car of this size, with no real signs of a loading because the Prius is something out of the ordinary. Shop around, but make sure you’re doing accurate comparisons.

As well as the standard Prius two other models share the name. The Prius C is a small city car, Prius V is a sort of station wagon.

Neither has been a sales success.

2009 Toyota Prius
Second generation



Don’t even think of buying a Prius without having it inspected by a Toyota or Lexus technician specifically trained on hybrids.

Check the service history is up to date as this can affect the battery warranty.

Look for signs of a taximeter having been removed. Taxi use may be indicated by worn trim, carpets and boot floor.

Other than that, carry out the routine checks for body damage, previous panel repairs and uneven tyre wear.

The petrol engine won’t start when you fire up a Prius, instead a Ready light will show on the dash and car will start off as an electric vehicle.

If the engine does start up immediately either the battery is flat or it may have died.

There have been some updates to the Prius and recalls for several relatively minor items.

2003 Toyota Prius



Expect to pay from $6000 to $9500 for a 2009 Prius; $8000 to $12,000 for a 2011 Prius; $9000 to $14,000 for a 2009 I-Tech; $11,000 to $17,000 for a 2014 Prius; $14,000 to $20,000 for a 2016 Prius or a 2014 I-Tech; $16,000 to $23,000 for a 2017 Prius; $20,000 to $28,000 for a 2018 V; and $30,000 to $41,000 for a 2022 i-Tech.

2016 Toyota Prius
2016 Toyota Prius



If buying a specialised vehicle like a hybrid take even more care than usual to ensure all is well with it.

Used car prices have generally increased during the period of new car stock shortages so hunt around for the best deal.

Start looking at adverts for used vehicles several months before you intend buying.

That way you can see the prices being asked and whether they are rising and falling as dealers need to clear stock due to overcrowding.

Keep an eye on adverts for new cars that say there are specials on particular models.

These can mean a lot of traded-in cars are taking up too much space in the yards and will be discounted to get rid of them.

If checking a used car at a dealership look at other cars on the lot. 

This can give you an insight to the quality of vehicles in which the dealer specialises.

If buying privately ask for proof of ownership of the vehicle and make sure it is covered for you taking a test drive.

Take a slow walk around any car you’re considering, looking for obvious defects.

It amuses us how many people dive into tiny details, only to later discover a major ding somewhere on the other side of the car.

Ideally any road test of a car you’re getting serious about should be done with the engine stone cold. Early morning is best.

If you’re serious about buying a vehicle, tell the seller you would like to take it for a good long test drive.

If they insist on coming that’s understandable, but try to avoid them ‘selling” the car to you.

Put bluntly, ask them to shut up,

In their later years, cars with a reputation for being long lived and trouble free sometimes attract buyers who have no intention of ever servicing them.

The next owner may suffer as a result.

Toyota Pressroom Toyotas Prius c smart fun affordable and economical. Overseas model shown
Prius C
2012 Toyotas Prius v a versatile hybrid with more space and exceptional fuel economy Overseas model shown
Toyota’s Prius v – a versatile hybrid with more space and exceptional fuel economy



To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: www.productsafety.gov.au/products/transport/cars/




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